Five solar power tips that you didn’t know about

You’ve made the clever choice to produce free energy from the sun, so here are five ways to maximise your investment and save even more money that you may need for a rainy day.

1. Run appliances during the day.

A smart way to save and use solar energy wisely is to run energy-hungry appliances, such as your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer during the day to lighten the load at night.

Daylight equals free energy so it’s the best time to wash your clothes, charge your devices and slow-cook your dinner while the sun is out. Stagger appliances so you don’t exceed your energy budget, and if you work away from home make use of timers and delay settings.

2. Monitor production.

Smart solar systems allow you to monitor energy production in real time via your smartphone or computer. This can help you work out which appliances to use and how much energy you’re producing.

3. Check your surroundings.

Even a little shade can significantly alter the output of your solar system. (In fact, shade on just one panel can result in lots of panels losing power.)

Make sure things like trees, roof ventilators, chimneys or antennas aren’t casting shade on your panels so the solar system produces as much energy as it can – this way your energy bills stay low.

4. Use the last few hours of daylight to heat or cool your home.

Heating and cooling our homes accounts for up to 50% of our total energy usage. Reduce the load by setting your air-conditioner to come on in the late afternoon. AGL Head of Solar Technology Louise McSweeney explains: “This brings the core temperature of the house down (or up) so there’s less demand on your evening electricity supply when energy rates are at their peak.” Be energy wise by heating to 20 degrees in winter and cooling to 26 degrees only in summer. If you crank up the thermostat in winter, each degree could whack an extra 10% onto your energy bill.

5. Clean your panels.

Louise says, “The build-up of salt, sand, dust, bird mess and tree debris can affect the production of your solar system. When AGL installs solar on your roof, we will also install monitoring, which will quickly identify if your panels aren’t producing what they should and whether a clean is needed.”

To keep your panels in good working order, ensure your panels are free from leaves and debris.

So with these little-known tips in mind, you can save energy and get the most out of your solar power.